A PAIR of Winchester beer experts have opened their own brewery believing their bitter will rival some of the best in Hampshire.

Andy Mansell runs the new Red Cat brewery with partner Iain McIntosh, a former Cheriton Flower Pots brewer, at a site in Winnall Business Park.

Mr Mansell formerly ran the Fulflood Arms and the Queen Inn in St Cross but said he’s putting all his efforts into their new venture.

“We felt there was still room for a decent pint in Hampshire,” he said. “The brewery was going to have three pints from the start and this is our first official pint after the first batch wasn’t quite what we wanted. It wasn’t quite perfect.”

Red Cat will provide competition to Alfred's Brewery in Winnall Valley Road which opened in 2012.

The new Red Cat Bitter, with an alcohol by volume of 3.7 per cent, was sold for the first time on Friday (April 11) at the Fulflood Arms on Cheriton Road, the Bell Inn in St Cross and the Queen Inn on Kingsgate Street.

“The next one we’re going to put together is called Tomcat which will be on at 4.7 per cent and will be a lovely golden ale and then, later on in the year, we’ll release the Prowler Pale – which will be 3.6 per cent.”

The 12 barrel brewery relies heavily on a slightly different fermentation process giving the beer a more fizzy quality.

“By allowing air into the system the bitter has a good conditioning,” Mr Mansell added. “We’ve had people tripping over themselves telling us how much they like it.”

Andy’s father, Clive has taken over the running of the Fulflood and the Queen Inn.